The Government of Pakistan is conscious of the importance of the conservation of the local breeds of livestock. The local or desi breeds of cattle are preserved in the government cattle farms; the detail of these farms is given in table 10.2. The case study given in Box 12 details the activities undertaken for the conservation of the local breeds.
Box 11: The Ghulaman Livestock Experiment Station17 Unaware of the provisions of the CBD, Dr. Ajmal Jalvi and his team at a remote farm are crusading for the preservation of the livestock breeds of Pakistan. This farm, the Ghulaman Livestock Experiment Station, is located 70 km from Mianwali City. The motivated team in this remote area of the country was addressing global concerns of Biodiversity conservation. Although Pakistan takes pride in providing the world with famous breeds like the Sahiwal, it appears that this breed is likely to become extinct at home. This is due to the encouragement of cross breeding by the GoP in the sixties and seventies. The crossbred F1 generation did increase milk production, but now at the F3 stage the non-descriptor breeds of cattle, with very poor traits has surfaced. The GoP has realised the importance of preserving the local breeds now. However, the farmers still take pains to get their cattle crossed with the Friesian or Jersey cattle of the Northern Hemisphere.
Like others, this farm was established in 1951 by the Thall Development Authority (TDA) and was then called the ‘Common Wealth Livestock Development Farm.’ This remained with the TDA until 1969. It has since been owned by many departments as shown below:
The West Pakistan Agriculture Development Corporation 1969 to 1970
The Army Welfare Trust 1970 to 1974
The Directorate of Livestock Farms Lahore 1974 to 1978
The Pak- Iran Joint Agro Livestock Complex 1978 to 1979
The Directorate of Livestock Farms Lahore 1979 to date
Since the farm has been under different administrations over the last half-century, its objectives and styles of management have been inconsistent. It was only in 1984 that a defined scheme for this farm was approved. According to this scheme, the farm was to maintain strength of the following breeds:
Nili Ravi buffaloes 250 Teddy goat 2000
Sahiwal cows 400 Thalli sheep 200
Box 12:The Ghulaman Livestock Experiment Station (continued) Again under a new policy all the Sahiwal Cows were shifted to the nearby livestock farm of Kallurkot, and the revised sanctioned strength was fixed as under:
Nili Ravi 250 Teddy Goat 500
Cross-Bred 50 Thalli Sheep 500
The objective of management remained mainly to preserve the quality local breeds, provide breeding services and issue superior germplasm to the farmers. The farm has an area of 10273 acres out of which 30 % is leased out for cultivation to outsiders. This leasing is done to earn revenues, since the farm has to show revenues to the provincial finance department. Twenty-five percent of the area is under canal irrigation, while less than ten percent is used as rain-fed grazing land. The farm has been successful in maintaining more than the sanctioned strength of adult livestock. Milk production, fertility and mortality percentages are also satisfactory. This shows that the farm is in safe hands. The daily production of the farm is 1000 litres, fifty percent of which is sold to Nestle and the rest is sold in the market at Kallurkot. Since 1991, the farm has supplied the following stock to private farmers:
Breeding stock sold: Nili Ravi Bulls 71 Crossbred Cows 81
Thalli sheep and Teddy goats 4112
Culled Stock sold Nili Ravi Buffaloes 1052 Crossbred cows 198
Thalli sheep and Teddy goats 2795
The lessees (204 in number) of the farmland also maintain a good number of livestock issued by the farm; 550 crossbred, 220 Sahiwal and 150 local bred cows. Anyone can buy the farm livestock through open auctions held 4-5 times a year. Applications for the breeding stock however are processed and approved by the director at Lahore, and stock is sold at fixed prices. The annual income of the farm averages Rs. 10.4 million while the annual expenditure is Rs. 10.25 million.
Dr. Fayyaz, the young veterinarian, works devotedly and knows what it means to preserve a breed. He also knows how difficult it is to develop a new breed and laments the lack of breeding policies. He travels to far off private and government farms from his own expense. Such young scientists who take interest in this important task need patronage. If a breed is preserved, it shall be useful to the entire world.
The GoP is also conscious of the need for preserving local poultry breeds. A four-year project (1999-2004) titled “Selection and Breeding of the Indigenous Poultry Breeds in Punjab” has been launched with a total cost of Rs. 8 million. The project envisages the procurement of local poultry breeds and rearing them scientifically. Final objective is to redistribute vaccinated poultry. The project also intends to find and encourage the Kashmiri desi breed.18
The Agricultural Census Bureau of the federal government conducts the census of agricultural crops and livestock every ten years. However, the livestock scientists working in the field19 do not agree with the accuracy of the federal reports. The Livestock Department Punjab has therefore started its own census programme, since without accurate census figures of the breeds no effective conservation programmes can succeed.
Table 10.2 List of Institutions working for the conservation of the local breeds of cattle in Pakistan (livestock and dairy farms)